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Hammer-Heads

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"They had nearly reached the first rock when they heard a rough voice cry out, "KEEP BACK!" "Who are you?" asked the Scarecrow. Then a face showed itself over the rock and the same voice said, "THIS HILL IS OUR HILL, THE HILL OF US HAMMER-HEADS, AND WE DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO EVER CROSS IT!" "But we must cross it," said the Scarecrow. "We're going to the country of the Quadlings to see its ruler, Glinda the Good Witch, so we must." "BUT YOU MUST NOT!" Replied the voice, and there stepped from behind the large rocks the strangest man the travelers had ever seen. He was quite short and stout, standing no more than three feet high and had a big, oversized head, which was smooth on the top and as flat as a hammer. The head was supported by a thick, long, fat neck full of many layers of wrinkles. But the body had no arms at all, not even stubs."
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
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A Hammer-Head of Oz as they appeared in the book of 1900.

The Hammer-Heads of Oz are creatures of a rather small race who inhabit the magical Land of Oz. They are an unusual and bizzare species who live strictly on the top of a small and rocky mountain (often referred to as a hill), in Oz's southern quadrant known as the Quadling Country. They first originally appeared briefly towards the end of L. Frank Baum's first Oz book titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900. They are placed as another rough obstacle Dorothy Gale, Toto and their three Oz companions, the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion must encounter during their long quest to get the girl and her dog back home to Kansas again. When they meet these peculiar creatures, they are not happy to see the traveling group of friends as they approach them to climb over their hill to pass through to the other side.

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Hammer-Heads 1900.

The Hill of The Hammer-Heads

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The Hammer-Heads knock down the helpless Scarecrow.

The Hammer-Heads are not very sociable and do not interact with anyone else in Oz, preferring to stick close with their own kind. They are extremely independent and are not very welcoming to visiters who come across them, as they are known for being quite unfriendly and sometimes even hostile and violent. They are unreasonable beings who do not and will not negotiate, compromise or agree with anyone. They are difficult and disagreeable to outsiders and foreign travelers. They will not allow any trespassers to cross or pass the rocky mountain hill they live on and dwell within because it is their strictly their rightful turf and territory. Therefore, the Hammer-Heads live a reclusive and isolated existence and do not like to be disturbed. Because of their nature, they are usually avoided by the majority of all people who live in Oz, obviously for the better.

Much like the fierce Kalidahs in the forest, the Hammer-Heads are also referred to as mysteriously unpleasant "Wild Creatures" who will harm others out of mere spite.

Baums' Description

The Hammer-Heads are rather funny looking and short, stubby and stout with no arms at all, not even stubs. Their big oversized heads are flat on top, with a very smooth surface. Their necks are incredibly long like elastic, stretching out like an accordion. They can shoot these necks out like a spring of a Jack in the Box. This allows the Hammer-Heads to defend themselves as they will strike out at intruders with their heads to knock them down hard to keep them away from their turf.

After hitting their targets, they then quickly pull their slinky like necks back to their shoulders and back into place until someone else steps foot on their mountain or comes too close to their turf.(The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)

Adaptations

The Hammer-Heads appeared in the Broadway musical Wicked. They perform a small number during the intermission between act 1 and act 2.

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Hammer-Heads in Broadways' Wicked.

In Magician of Oz (2009), by James C. Wallace II, the Hammer-Heads are viewed from afar as Jamie Diggs, the great grandson of O.Z. Diggs, travels with Dorothy and Glinda to the Tin Palace of the Tin Woodman. Known as the Valley of Fear and located between the Forest of the Fighting Trees and the base of the Mountain of the Hammer-Heads, it is the place where Jamie Diggs confronts his fear of the dreaded hammer-Heads, who he had learned earlier had threatened his great grandfather, O.Z. Diggs, the Wizard of Oz.

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